www.cardealermagazinew.co.uk – 1st November 2020
The government has announced a second lockdown will be put in place across England from 00.01 on Thursday – but what does this mean to car repairs, servicing and MOTs?
With car showrooms forced to close as part of the measures, there have been questions as to whether garages can remain open.
Here we attempt to navigate our way through what may happen.
Car Dealer has poured through the government guidance issued so far on the lockdown and there is no mention of garages, servicing or MOT centres having to close.
As this lockdown follows the same lines as the first in March and April (with a few exemptions that are less stringent), garages and service departments of car dealerships are highly likely to be allowed to stay open.
‘As far as we can assume, the rules are likely to be the same as the first lockdown,’ said Joel Combes, director of motor trade legal experts Lawgistics.
‘Garages are essential businesses and the rules state that essential businesses can stay open. We are assuming that the rules will be the same as those earlier in the year.’
Deemed as essential businesses, garages were allowed to continue to operate right the way through the first lockdown.
However, there is likely to be some disruption as some businesses may decide to close as they are unsure of the volume of work they can rely on – so it is worth calling ahead.
Will garages stay open during lockdown?
As they were classed as an essential business the first time around, it’s safe to assume they will.
Garages, and the service departments of car dealerships, were allowed to remain open during the first lockdown to carry out repairs, servicing work and MOTs.
This was targeted at key workers and emergency services, but others could take advantage of it too.
This time round, the emphasis is on continuing to work where you can and travelling to work needs a car that is serviceable and road legal.
With this in mind, car servicing and repair work – as well as MOTs – are likely to continue as normal.
Will there be another MOT extension?
A second extension is highly unlikely.
During the first lockdown the government announced an MOT extension for those who were finding it difficult to get an MOT because of shielding and the advice to stay at home.
Stuart James, director of the Independent Garage Association, said he ‘really didn’t think’ one would be put in place again this time around when Car Dealer asked him last night.
In Wales, where a firebreak lockdown was put in place for two weeks, drivers have been told to take their car to a garage if it needs an MOT as normal.
Will I still be able to get an MOT during the second lockdown?
Yes. It is worth calling up your local garage well ahead of when it is due though.
Classed as essential businesses, garages will be allowed to carry on operating, but they are already dealing with a backlog of MOTs from the six month extension that was put in place during the first lockdown.
Members of the public are advised to contact their local garage as soon as possible to book their MOT in.
Will I still be able to get my car serviced during the second lockdown?
In principal, yes. In reality it may be trickier than normal.
Car dealerships have been told to close and while their service departments will be allowed to continue to operate, some businesses may decide to close completely.
Car dealers we spoke to today were still weighing up how much of their aftersales operation they could justify keeping open.
One told us: ‘Aftersales can open as deemed essential – it’s like May 11 but pre-June 1. It will be a judgment call on how retailers set up.’
Have any car dealers confirmed they will remain open for servicing?
As of Sunday evening, some car dealers had begun to reveal their plans for dealing with servicing and MOTs during the second lockdown.
Vertu Motors – which operates Bristol Street, Farnell and Vertu branded dealerships across the country – said in a statement: ‘From November 5, our service departments will operate as normal as they have been for many months in a safe manner.
‘Our aftersales departments remain fully operational for servicing, MOT and repairs.
‘We have produced a video which covers the details, but to give an overview – social distancing measures, an appointment-only system, protective screens at our service desks as well as cashless payments have been in place for several months now.’
Other dealer groups are likely to follow suit.
More detail is due out from the government on Tuesday.« FOBBED OFF – Keyless car owners urged to keep fobs in metal bags (available at In Front Reception – only £6.99)Half of UK drivers at risk after delaying essential car maintenance this year »